Thursday, November 4, 2010

For the Lord has made all things

From time to time I hear people say they feel closest to God when they are outdoors, and I must say I hear them.

I grew up in an outdoor culture -- hiking and fishing in the Sierra Nevada, sailing on San Francisco Bay or out into the deep blue Pacific, and just being outside until the sun went down. When school was out for the year, my shoes came off for the summer, and from June to the end of August I was barefoot all day. The beach was a special place, and we lived close enough to Half Moon Bay to get there frequently.

As a young adult in Southern California, I owned a small sailboat. From my small boat I saw birds, dolphins, sea lions, flying fish, and once even a Gray Whale within a few yards of my port beam. I've snorkeled and Scuba dived off reefs in Hawaii, Mexico and Belize.

The infinite wonder of God's creation is so amazingly clear beneath the sea, and God's artistry so far beyond any human-built cathedral that it is no wonder so many people feel especially close to God by and under the sea. God is truly in the depths.

Maybe the best way we can praise God is to protect the oceans of God's creation. We defile God by our garbage dumping and oil spills in the sea.

Yesterday's Daily Office reading especially struck a very deep chord with me, resonating all day, and I share it with you:

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 43:23-33
By his plan he stilled the deep
and planted islands in it.

Those who sail the sea tell of its dangers,
and we marvel at what we hear.

In it are strange and marvellous creatures,
all kinds of living things, and huge sea-monsters.

Because of him each of his messengers succeeds,
and by his word all things hold together.

We could say more but could never say enough;
let the final word be: ‘He is the all.’

Where can we find the strength to praise him?
For he is greater than all his works.

Awesome is the Lord and very great,
and marvellous is his power.

Glorify the Lord and exalt him as much as you can,
for he surpasses even that.

When you exalt him, summon all your strength,
and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough.

Who has seen him and can describe him?
Or who can extol him as he is?

Many things greater than these lie hidden,
for I have seen but few of his works.

For the Lord has made all things,
and to the godly he has given wisdom.

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